Santa Barbara- S County

Facebook post documents bullying incident at Santa Barbara Junior High School

SBUSD officials confirm ongoing investigation

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Disturbing video taken on a Santa Barbara school campus is making the rounds on social media that shows a group of students -- which appears to be mostly girls -- smacking a boy in the head while pulling his hair and pushing him to the ground.

The mother of the boy targeted in the video posted the footage on her Facebook page Thursday evening and explained that her son is a special needs 8th grader at Santa Barbara Junior High School (SBJHS) and has been subjected to bullying by other students since last year.

By Friday afternoon, her Facebook post had been shared more than 300 times.

For privacy reasons, we are not revealing her identity.

In her post, the Santa Barbara woman expressed difficulty watching her son being tormented by other students. She also wrote that her goal wasn't to "shame" anyone in the video but to "bring awareness to an ongoing pattern that doesn't seem to be getting any better!"

Reporter Beth Farnsworth reached out to Assistant Superintendent Frann Wageneck at the Santa Barbara Unified School District for comment.

Wageneck said the situation is "unfolding" and "under investigation" with the help of the Santa Barbara Police Department. She also said that parents were notified via ParentSquare and that there were "no reported injuries."

School district superintendent Cary Matsuoka issued a Full Recap of the incident:

  •  Friday, May 3, Principal Lito M. Garcia witnessed a group of approximately 15 students approach another student in front of the school after the event.  Mr. Garcia addressed the group, heard their concerns, investigated, and took appropriate action.
  • On Monday, May 6 additional information and evidence of the incident came to the attention of school administrators, including the first video. This information prompted additional investigation.
  • SBJHS administration has met with the parents of the students most directly involved in the incident.          
  • On Thursday, May 9 a second video became available, revealing additional information. As a result, Mr. Garcia messaged the school community.

"As with any incident that occurs on one of our campuses, administration is working with students, families, and law enforcement to fully investigate this incident and to move forward with the appropriate consequences in accordance with the California Education Code," Matsuoka wrote.

"I want to reinforce the importance of students speaking up when they see or hear something in order to keep everyone safe.  Students, parents, and staff are encouraged to submit a report (confidential or not) through the "Stop It" app any time."

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